Monday, March 30, 2009

My new crack

When DAWN OF WAR, the WH40K RTS game came out, I didn't have a computer that could run it. That didn't stop me from buying it, and all of the supplements. And DAWN OF WAR II also.

I finally got around to installing everything on The Terminator this weekend (my cranked-up Dell XPS gaming laptop rig). I started playing the tutorial tonight.

I believe I have found my new crack. 8)

Why I hate the modern world: the boardgame rant

In the town where I live, I often volunteer at the rec center on the weekends. Usually, when I'm working, I'll bring over my copy of RISK, and we'll spend a few hours kicking each other's butts. I've been trying to find a copy of RISK to donate to the rec center, so I don't always have to drag mine around. I've been to every toy store here around, and you know what I've found out? Parker Brothers SUCKS. They've taken all the "classic" board games of my youth, and messed them up. You can't get RISK anymore, the way god intended it... no, now, RISK has a different map, and different units, and "mission objectives", and fortifications. It's like a cross between Monopoly and Risk. And don't even get me started on the future version of Risk, or STAR WARS Risk, or God Storm Risk. Why can't I just get RISK?

Same thing with CLUE... they screwed it up too. New characters, new rooms, new weapons, new game mechanics. And other games, like the card game Mille Bornes? No longer produced.

Ebay is no better. $25-$35 for a used copy of Risk, and $25 to ship it? Forget it. Every copy I try to get my hands on, the bidding goes psychotic. Or the shipping is psychotic.

It's almost enough to make a man give up. Almost. 8)

Games I'd like to run...

YAY FOR SPRING BREAK! A whole week away from the little terrorists will hopefully be just what I need to recharge my batteries. And maybe even write some stuff down here.

I've been thumbing (in some cases, electronically so) through a bunch of my gaming stuff, thinking about the old days, when I had a regular gaming group. I would be working on some kind of campaign (usually AD&D or Cyberpunk), my buddy Scott would be working on whatever the game of the week was (sometimes DC Heroes, sometimes Palladium, sometimes TORG, sometimes AD&D, or something else). His brother Dave would be working on either a Twilight 2000, Traveller, AD&D or Top Secret campaign, and all of us would get together once a week to sit around and paint miniatures. Man, I miss those days. However, the bug is biting me again. Here's what I would like to run.....

1) AD&D 2nd Edition GREYHAWK campaign: all my campaigns have been in Greyhawk. I know it, and it's my favorite. I still have my big C'Thulhu meets Greyhawk campaign in the back of my mind, but right now, I'd just like to run ANYTHING, so I'm still chugging away at my quasi-sandbox game set in the Yeomanry (for now), where I will be training new players. I also want to run a one-off session this summer, with all my old-school gamer friends, crawling through TOMB OF HORRORS or another one of the classics.

2) UNKNOWN ARMIES: I love this game. It's so dark and weird... how can you not love it? I have some notes about running a UA campaign based loosely on the tv miniseries THE LOST ROOM. It would involve having to find the artifacts and figure out the room, while interacting with other occult underground groups. Weird and cool, bu since my core groups of gamers right now will likely be some of my high school students, I think an adult-themed game like this is out of the question for now.

3)FALLOUT: even since finishing the excellent FALLOUT 3, I`ve thought what a cool RPG this would make. I`ve been thinking about running something like this, a campaign based loosely on the FALLOUT games, probably using the GAMMA WORLD rules, or MAYBE D20 Modern (but that`s pretty iffy). Gamma World seems like a much more natural fit.

4) STAR WARS: old-school D6 WEG Star Wars, probably set in between SW and ESB, or maybe between ESB and ROTJ (although that would mean no chance of running into Han Solo 8). I used to have this RPG, then traded it off sometime int he distant past for a crapload of WH40K stuff, but I have since reacquired almost EVERY D6 book from WEG (thanks, eBAY!), and hope to one day run a Star Wars campaign, just because I love SW so much.

5)HEROES: ever since I read ``Days of Future Past`` when I still collected X-MEN, I`ve wanted to run a real dark, gritty super hero campaign. No flashy costumes, no cartoon violence... real issues, and more real life. I would still LOVE to do this, and HEROES has given me some ideas about how to do this (well, that and SMALLVILLE). Not sure what system I would use... I don`t think any of the Marvel iterations would work, nor would DC Heroes. I have Villains & Vigilantes (which I have some familiarity with), Mutants & Masterminds (which I would have to read), and I *think* I have some Hero System stuff around here somewhere. I think this would be super fun (no pun.... okay, pun intended 8).

6) CYBERPUNK 2020: I love this game. I have EVERYTHING for it. I`ve only tried running campaigns for it twice... once was an online one on an old BBS, which never got off the ground. The other was with my old gaming group and some friends from work... and resulted in the equivalent of the TPK in the first adventure, when one player decided his character was going to tick off Arasaka goons ASAP. Needless to say, Arasaka dropped on them like a nuclear hammer, and after one adventure, they were all dead. Sigh. I would use CP2020 for this... Cybergeneration has SOME appeal for me, but CPv3 sucks. Sucks, sucks, sucks. I`ve toyed with the diea of taking my palyers, having them make 2020 versions of themselves, and go all cowboy, but we`ll see.

7) CALL OF C`THULHU: I have recently acquired a metric ton of CoC gaming stuff. I used to have this game, and I love Lovecraft. A friend has the ARKHAM HORROR board game, and we have blown MANY a day playing that. One of my buddies used to run a fairly regular (albeit weird as shit) CoC campaign, which I played in once, and had a blast. I would love to run a dark, scary, horror-inducing game, and make everyone crazy. 8)

8) DEADLANDS: this game is just too weird to NOT want to play.

9)"Eternal Champion" campaign: this si another weird idea I had in my head. What about a campaign with a bunch of different game systems, but the characters (assuming they live) are all incarnations of the same character? Kind of like QUANTUM LEAP role-playing. I was thinking of linking AD&D/D&D, STAR FRONTIERS, and some stuff in the middle (maybe CoC, maybe CP2020, maybe something else), with characters being approximately the same across all the games. Would be an interesting concept.

These are my big ones. That`s not counting what I would love to PLAY in... I want to play in a 3ed campaign, just to see what the system is like. I would LOVE to be in a CoC campaign, or an old-school Traveller campaign. Also, this doesn`t cover the stuff that I may want to run... for instance, I`d also like run a Traveller or Star Frontiers campaing, but the vision I have for those campaigns could also be done in Star Wars (well.... maybe not the Traveller one 8).

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Legends of the Yeomanry

[NOTE: I'm putting to paper some of the ideas that I have rolling around in my head for possible plot hooks in my upcoming campaign. Feel free to steal liberally. 8) ]

The Sunken Castle of Lu-Mar

Tales tell of the ruins of a castle, found deep in the darkest parts of the Escarpment Swamp. Curiously, all that remains is the very tops of the tower battlements – it is as if the ground rose up and swallowed the castle whole. This is the doomed castle of the mad warlord Lu-Mar. Lu-Mar was great in his impudence, and although warned that his attempts to build a stronghold would lead to great suffering, he stubbornly raised his castle in the heart of the swamp, seeking to subjugate all he came in contact with. Angered by his impudence, the gods caused the earth to open, swallowing up his castle until only the top of the keep and castle walls remained. Undaunted, Lu-Mar rebuilt his castle on top of the ruins of his old castle, sneering at the forces of the unseen world. In payment for his lack of faith, the gods again caused his castle to be swallowed by the earth, only this time, Lu-Mar was also dragged down by the spirits of his followers, killed when the first castle was destroyed. Occasionally, rumours come back of adventurers, lost in the swamp, who come across the ruins of Lu-Mar’s castle. They say that one can still get into the castle through the half-buried towers which rise from the swamp, and venture not only through the towers and keep of Lu-Mar’s second castle, but even deeper into the depths of the original castle, where the undead followers of Lu-Mar endlessly wander their imprisoned castle. Some even say that Lu-Mar can be found in the deepest depths of the bottom castle…. Some say he has become the undead leader of his former minions, while some say he is still alive, endless tortured for his folly…

The Crystal Veil

In the days before the Twin Cataclysms, there was a trading route over the Crystalmist Mountains, known as the Crystal Veil. The route went through the highest parts of the mountains, and was watched by a regular series of watchtowers and castles along the route. The dwarven clans oversaw the peace, and lived sand traded in harmony with the Suel caravans who travelled the routes. Then came the Cataclysms. Fearing for the lives, those Suel who could make it passed over the Crystal Veil. Driven by paranoia and fear, the Suel felt the only way to protect themselves from being followed and killed by the Bakluni would be to kill everyone along the Crystal Veil. As the panicked Suel advanced, they slew all the came across, including the dwarven tribes who manned the series of watchtowers. In the depths of the Crystalmists, an army made from the remnants of the remaining dwarven protectors stood against the oncoming Suel refugees, standing in vengeance for their fallen comrades. The valleys ran red with the blood of man and dwarf that day, and travellers along the Veil spoke of the sounds of the dead echoing through the nights ever after. Travel along the trail began to die off, and stories of haunted towers, where ghosts of both Suel refugees and dwarven warriors warred with the living became more frequent, until the trail was abandoned all together. Memory of the trail was soon forgotten, but stories still can be heard of mountain travellers who come across the ruined, abandoned watchtowers of the Crystal Veil. Some even say that nestled amongst the highest peaks of the Crystalmists can be found some of the oldest fortresses, full of abandoned riches…. and the restless dead.

And lo, the dark clouds parted,,,

Spring is trying to fight its way through the frozen hell that winter has laid upon us, so that means the juices are starting to flow again. I'm finally coming out of the funk, and starting to think anew. I've ben scouring resources for my campaing.... the Greyhawk box set, FtA box, LG Gazetteer, and even some old MERP modules (as I clean up my RPG archives on my hard drive... how did I accumulate 100 gigs of RPG stuff?). The recent fascination with megadungeons has not been lost on me, but trying to find a way to legitimize the presence of such a beast in my campaign is the problem. When I thought back on it, my D&D experiences really didn't encompass a lot of dungeon crawls. The first DM I played with, we went through most of the classics... D1-2, D3, Barrier Peaks. But when I started playing with the group I had the longest residency with.... well, I don't think we played a single dungeon on any of those campaigns. Our adventures were mostly wilderness treks, interspersed with town mayhem or political wrangling. I have some ideas for sticking a bunch of smaller dungeons into my campaign.... including an idea I got from watching MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL again ("So I built a castle.... but it fell into the swamp!"). I just need to start pulling stuff out of my head, and putting it to paper.